Finding affordable health insurance is one of the biggest obstacles for people wishing to retire early. The Affordable Care Act will help eliminate this obstacle.
California has the highest number of uninsured residents in the US, with 7.3 million in 2011. Covered California promises to change that.
Millions of American employees are locked into their jobs because of employer-provided health insurance. Health care reform will free these employees from job-lock in 2014.
Starting in 2014, millions of people will get tax credits to purchase individual health insurance under Obamacare (aka "the Affordable Care Act"). Will I get a tax credit under Obamacare?
A 1955 TOPPS Sandy Koufax baseball card recently sold on eBay for a cool $1000. Do you have a hidden treasure gathering dust in your old baseball card collection?
The latest draft of the application for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is 21 pages long. Its instructions are 61 pages long. Keeping organized will be key to completing it.
Many people have trouble finding the time to educate themselves about personal finance. A good way to solve this problem is to listen to financial podcasts available for free on iTunes.
Investors can diversify and safeguard their portfolios by purchasing gold bars. Purchasing gold bars is easier than ever, but there are plenty of potential traps for the unwary.
Drivers can save on auto insurance by completing a defensive driving course. They may also shave points from their driving record (depending on their state) and may avoid wrecking their prized cars!
US taxpayers will spend more than seven billion hours complying with their income tax filing requirements for 2012. That's just one of 10 signs that income taxes are too complicated.
Super Bowl XLVIII will be played February 2, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. It will be the first outdoor, cold weather Super Bowl. How much will tickets cost?
The 2014 Winter Olympics will take place from February 7th to 23rd in Sochi, Russia. What is the price of Olympic tickets?
The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in the resort town of Sochi, Russia between February 7th and 23rd. Attending the Games will require advance planning--and lots of money.
Only seven U.S. states do not collect income tax on individuals. Two others collect only a limited income tax on dividend and interest income. Would you be better off living in one of these states?
The Streak at Fenway Park is still alive. The Streak refers to a string of consecutive sellouts since May 15, 2003. Despite the Streak, you can still get tickets to see the Red Sox at home.
A housing bubble is an incredibly destructive economic event for anyone caught when it pops. What is a housing bubble? How can I recognize the next one to avoid getting hurt?
Two-thirds of 2011 college graduates held student loans, and the average debt was $26,600. But college doesn't need to be so expensive. Here are 10 ways to lower your college costs.
A diversified investment portfolio reduces risk by investing in different asset classes that are unlikely to move in the same direction. Creating one is easy, but avoid these pitfalls.
Apple Inc. is famously secretive about its future product plans. One perfectly legal way to gain insight into its future product plans is to analyze its published patent applications.
Making delicious, healthy and inexpensive homemade yogurt is simple.
College students spend an average of $1100 per semester on textbooks, and this figure is rising much faster than inflation. Luckily, there are more ways than ever to sell used textbooks for cash!
How would you invest $10,000? While many risk-adverse people would choose cash, a savings account or CD, even such "no risk" investments carry their own set of risks.
The MyPanera loyalty program from Panera Bread is free to join and simple to use. Unfortunately, its skimpy rewards make it barely worth the minimal effort to sign up.
Millions of Americans believe they pay nothing for their 401k retirement accounts. Unfortunately, this is only a misperception fostered by the financial industry. In reality, the average 401k costs almost $1000 per year! So what does my 401k cost?
Excessive 401k fees are stealing our future. 401k fees will cost the average American couple almost $155,000, and reduce their retirement savings by 30%. By taking a few easy steps, we can reduce these excessive fees and reclaim our future.
Many people buy a new cell phone every year or two. Rather than tossing the old cell phone into the trash or a drawer, sell it for cash. Here's how.
Choosing the perfect name for your blog is a key step in its success. The perfect name will attract and retain readers, and promote your online brand. The name should be short, compelling, easy to remember, suggestive of the blog's content, equal to the domain name, and available.
There's only one store card worth keeping in your wallet. It's the Target REDcard debit card.
Super Bowl 2013 tickets are expensive. With the cheapest tickets selling for $2400 each on StubHub, most of us can't afford to attend. But we can dream, and there's one way we can still afford to go. We just need enough luck to win tickets. Here are ways to win Super Bowl 2013 tickets.
Budgeting is like dieting. It works very well for self-disciplined people who are organized and committed to getting their financial houses in order. It doesn't work so well for the rest of us.
Your retirement will depend on how well you manage your 401k. By doing it right, you can grow your 401k to help insure it will support the retirement you're dreaming of.
A common goal among people looking to make extra money is to earn a dollar a day online. Yet this certainly isn't enough extra income to make us rich, and for many people it will barely boost their standard of living. So why do so many of us put so much effort into earning a dollar a day?
The Affordable Care Act requires the creation of an online health benefit exchange in each state. The exchanges must be able to enroll consumers by October 1, 2013 for coverage starting January 1, 2014. The progress of the states in meeting the deadlines differs widely across the country. This...
Why did 5000 people jump at the chance to pay $450 for a Metal Starbucks Card with a preloaded value of only $400? And why have dozens of other people engaged in bidding wars to pay as much as $1249.99? There are two possible answers: prestige pricing, and "The Greater Fool Theory".
A staggering 48.6 million Americans had no health insurance in 2011. Millions of others suffer from "job lock" because they fear losing their health insurance if they leave their current jobs. All of these Americans will soon have a new option for obtaining affordable health insurance coverage.
Starting in 2014, state-based health insurance exchanges will make it easier for individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health insurance. The exchanges will act as one-stop marketplaces to allow customers to find and compare health plans, select among standardized coverage options, find...
Many of us waste hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year on unnecessary insurance. This money would be better spent self-insuring ourselves, or finding alternative ways to protect ourselves. Here are some of the most common kinds of insurance that most people don't need.
The best personal finance books are not about becoming rich. Instead, they're about making lifestyle choices to give you the financial freedom to live life on your terms. These 3 great personal finance books will show you how to make smart lifestyle choices to promote financial security. They...
Once again, the stock market seems to crash or soar each day. Many investors react by selling stocks in a panic, thereby locking in losses. Here's how to survive a volatile stock market.
For family gift ideas, consider presents that will make the family safer. After all, there's nothing more precious to a family than its health and safety. These gifts may not be as flashy as a new pink iPod or a soft cashmere sweater, but they'll bring piece of mind, and may help prevent injury.
The average family of four wastes 25% of its purchased food, worth $1,365 to $2,275 annually. Thus, the average family can save $100 a month (or more) by wasting less food.
Small business 401k plans often fall short due to their relatively large fees. Over the course of a working career, employees of small businesses may pay more than $100,000 in 401k fees than their counterparts who work for large companies.
Few people enjoy grocery shopping. Yet one regional grocery store chain is working hard to change this. This chain provides a wide selection of high quality foods, fresh produce, baked goods, delicious store-prepared meals, a comfortable atmosphere and speedy checkout lines. The prices are...
Since 1935, senior citizens have supported themselves using a three-legged retirement income stool consisting of Social Security, pensions and savings. All three legs of this stool are under assault.
The average cost of a two-year smartphone contract including data, texts and minutes is $2,100. That two-year average cost climbs to $3,400 after adding in taxes, overage charges and miscellaneous fees. Considering what we use our smartphones for, does it make sense to spend an average of $1,700...
Windstorm insurance is a special type of property-casualty insurance that protects policyholders from damages caused by windstorms. It is often offered as a rider to a standard homeowners insurance policy. Homeowners need to carefully consider the specific language of this rider as it may make...
By taking a few simple preparations before it snows, we can enjoy the snow rather than worrying about getting the car out of the driveway or dealing with the snow on the roof.
You can take many actions to increase your savings. Some actions may--oddly--improve your lifestyle, others will have little impact, and still others will require short-term sacrifice.
By selecting the right cell phone plan, Virgin Mobile's customers can save substantial money compared to what they would have paid to the leading contract cell phone providers such as AT&T and Verizon. They can also avoid being stuck in a long-term contract for years to come.
Your morning bowl of cereal may become a victim of our dysfunctional Congress. Due to Congress' inability to agree on a renewal of the Farm Bill, the average price of milk may more than double to over $6 per gallon in 2013!
Picking a good stock to invest in involves finding a stock likely to outperform the market. Yet the efficient market hypothesis says its impossible to beat the overall market on a risk-adjusted basis because the financial markets efficiently set stock prices at levels reflecting all relevant...
The best thing to do during a rain storm is curl up on a couch with a good book. The worst is to run outside to clean out a plugged gutter. Here's how to prepare for rain.
What is the origin of flying the American flag at half staff? When is the flag flown at half staff? How should the flag be flown at half staff? What about state flags?
A visit to a fishing pier is a highlight of many Florida vacations. They’re a way to get out on the water. They’re the perfect place to enjoy a hot dog or ice cream cone. They’re great for people watching, or watching colorful sunrises or sunsets. And, yes, they’re also good for fishing.
Despite the difficult economic times, people are spending more and more on their mobile phones. One of the principal drivers of the trend towards higher mobile phone bills is the popular iPhone. Luckily, iPhone costs can be lowered using a prepaid plan from Virgin Mobile or Cricket.
We’ve all heard the siren song of easy payment plans, which lure us into purchasing too much stuff at too high prices. This is why easy payment plans are a bad deal.
The iShares “core” series of ETFs is a powerful new investment tool for individual investors. By buying as few as three ETFs within this series, investors can build a well-diversified portfolio with exposure to U.S. stocks, international stocks and U.S. bonds. The “core” series of ETFs have...
Savvy travelers get the best prices on car rentals by using the opaque shopping options offered by Priceline and Hotwire. Here is how you can also enjoy the best prices without wasting time.
In our society, being "average" gets a bum rap. Yet most investors would enjoy higher returns if they stopped trying to beat the market, but simply decided to invest in low-cost mutual funds or ETFs with returns matching the market's average.
If you are one of the millions of people lucky enough to visit San Diego, all you need is two hours to take a scenic round-trip cruise across San Diego harbor to visit the fairy-tale community of Coronado.
Many of us own collectibles. At one time, you were sure they'd turn into gold if you waited long enough. Now, you're not sure. Should you keep them, or sell them to make a few bucks?
Weekend getaways recharge your batteries between hectic work weeks. The trick is to find a location to capture your imagination and provide a ready escape from day-to-day life. To aid your escape, try one of these weekend getaways inspired by a classic movie.
Cemeteries offer natural beauty even in urban landscapes, and are home to native wildlife and local history. If you’re looking for inexpensive and convenient things to do with kids, consider a kid-friendly activity at your local cemetery. Just be sure to be respectful to its residents.
Three of the six Apple patents violated by Samsung are design patents rather than the more common utility patents. Most people are not familiar with this form of intellectual property. What are some examples of designs that can be protected by design patents?
Vanity sizing--also known as size inflation--refers to the practice of making clothes of a nominal size larger over the years. While vanity sizing might work in the fashion industry, the real world isn't so accommodating. Here are 10 real-world signs that we've gained a few extra pounds.
Early retirees often face the problem of how to generate enough cash from their substantial nest eggs to pay their day-to-day bills. A good solution is for early retirees to use immediate fixed annuities to generate sufficient monthly income to pay for their living expenses. The remainder of...
Many people are looking for ways to increase their investment income in today’s low interest rate environment. Here is how to combine high-yield stocks with covered calls and LEAPS to generate investment income higher than that of high-yield stocks but with lower risk.
To protect your invention, you need a high quality patent for a reasonable cost. To accomplish this, you should work in concert with the patent attorney or patent agent.
In the United States, a patent is a property right granted by the federal government to an inventor "to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States" for a limited time in exchange for...
Copyright protects original works of authorship such as books, songs, photos, blogs, etc. Here is how and why to use a copyright notice to protect your rights in your original works.
Copyright is a form of intellectual property right that protects original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. If you are creative, understanding the things you can and can’t copyright can be critical to your livelihood.
Imagine you have an idea for a household cleaner that would make a great new product for Proctor & Gamble. Or, you have an idea for a new feature for an Apple iPhone. What are your chances of making money by submitting your new idea to Proctor & Gamble or Apple? Here are 10 tips to help you...
The easiest way to invest in gold is to buy gold exchange traded funds, or gold ETFs. However, gold ETFs aren't always perfect substitutes for owning physical gold.
Patents are more important than ever in our high technology society since they protect one of our most important assets: our ideas. Yet few people have a good understanding of patents. To remedy this, let’s explore a number of frequently asked questions about patents in the context of a...
The vast majority of our retirement income comes from only four sources: Social Security; earnings; pensions; and asset income. Thus, by estimating our retirement income from just these four sources, we can get an accurate estimate of our retirement income. Here’s how to calculate retirement...
Both pension plans and retirement plans provide financial benefits after you reach retirement age. The basic difference is that pension plans provide a defined benefit, and are thus known as defined benefit plans, while retirement plans provide a benefit that depends on the amount of your...
To calculate retirement expenses, its best to use a hybrid of two commonly used methods. In this hybrid, pre-retirement spending patterns are used only when they will accurately predict post-retirement spending, while forecasts of retirement expenses are used for spending categories that will...
When it comes to allocating retirement funds between stocks and bonds, a common rule of thumb is to take your age and subtract it from 110. The answer is the percent of your retirement portfolio that should be invested in stocks. The remainder should be in bonds. This rule of thumb is a good...
There are many types of patent searches. Simple searches can be done quickly and inexpensively. Complex searches can take months and cost tens of thousands of dollars. Before doing a patent search, it is necessary to ask: “What’s the purpose of the search?” The answer will impact how long the...
The idiom “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” applies to estimating the value of a patent. The owner of a patent sees a thing of beauty without blemishes, and therefore values it too high. In contrast, the buyer of a patent sees an ugly thing marred by warts, and values it too low. In reality,...
“Patent pending” or "patent applied for" notifies the public that an application for patent has been filed in the U.S. Patent Office. The proper use of these words can create significant value by discouraging competitors or attracting buyers. However, the false use of these words is illegal, and...
Now that we need to buy data plans for our smartphones, how much data do we need to buy each month? It all depends on what activities we do on our smartphones.
Venice is a vacation and retirement community located directly on the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast of Florida. It is a laid-back community without the hustle-and-bustle of southeast Florida. It has white sand beaches, miles of hike & bike trails, and a gorgeous historic downtown with more than...
Venice is a charming small city on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico on the west coast of Florida. It has white sand beaches, miles of hike & bike trails, an old-fashioned historic downtown, and more than 100 shops, restaurants and coffee shops. Here are 10 fun things to do in Venice.
Some classes of people are winners under Social Security. Others are losers. The distinctions reflect judgments we've made about who is more deserving. Are you a Social Security winner or loser?
One of the best jobs for engineering graduates or experienced engineers is patent attorney. The benefits of making the switch include working on cutting-edge technologies, higher pay, increased job security, and working with world-class people. There are also great IT jobs in the rapidly growing...
Super Bowl XLVII will be played on February 3, 2013 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, mid-way between the two weekends of Mardi Gras. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see the Big Game in one of the world's most entertaining cities. What would it cost to go?
Sharks teeth, meteorites and pine cones are among the treasures you can find in the Great Outdoors. Searching for them will turn your outing into an adventure!
For everyone living in coastal areas at risk from hurricanes, the NOAA’s raised predictions for Atlantic hurricanes should be a reminder that it’s better to prepare for hurricanes ahead of time rather than wait until the last minute. Hurricane preparation helps to minimize the risks to life and...
Narrow and curved streets laid out for oxen and carts. Drivers with a national reputation for aggressive driving. Limited parking at sky-high prices. Ever-present meter maids. Hordes of pedestrians and cars. Still looking forward to your next visit to Boston? Luckily, there’s an easier way to...
There are still world-class sporting events where attendance is free. These 8 events take place in historical cities with major attractions or in breathtakingly scenic places.
Take control of the tire buying process by buying your next set of tires online. You'll get a substantial discount on your tires, and you'll understand more about the tires you buy.
It’s still possible to buy tickets for the 2012 London Olympics. It’s even possible to buy tickets for some of the most popular events, such as the Closing Ceremony, as long as you’re willing to pay the price of this once-in-a-lifetime event. But regardless of how much you spend on your tickets,...
AT&T and Verizon Wireless are selling “share plans” for wireless data services. Each plan includes a “data package” containing X gigabytes (GB) of data. How many GB of data do customers need to buy?
The overwhelming majority of us cannot attend the London 2012 Olympic Games in person. It’s too far away, or expensive, or both. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy an Olympics TV-watching party featuring an authentic menu with some of the same food and drinks being served at the Olympics.
Here are 10 investments with yields of 4%, 5% or more even in today's ultra-low interest rate environment.
It has now been one year since Congress and President Obama engaged in a prolonged battle about raising the debt ceiling. The battle left the United States with ongoing political gridlock, a first-ever downgrade to its AAA credit rating, and an electorate disgusted by the dysfunction of the US...
The Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games is only two days away! It’s safe to say that, if you don’t already have your Olympics tickets, you almost certainly have no plans to attend. That’s OK, because you will have a better view of the action from your HDTV anyway. You can also...
By using these 10 ways to fight inflation, you can rest easier knowing that the purchasing power of your savings should be preserved even when inflation starts to rear its ugly head again.
Most of us make irrational financial decisions that cost us tens or hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year. By eliminating these costs, we can improve our financial situation now and far into the future. Here are some common irrational decisions we need to eliminate.
Business trips can be a hassle with long work days, hours wasted at the airport, and time spent away from family. But they can also be wonderful opportunities to see places you might not otherwise see, and to experience exotic foods, cultures and attractions you might not otherwise experience. So...
Renting a car is the worst part of a vacation. Its expensive, fraught with irritating fees and worrisome. Here are 10 great vacations that don't require renting a car.
There are some things for which we routinely overpay. Oddly enough, we are often happy to pay way too much for these purchases because they fill an important (and unmet) emotional or physical need. Once we understand how marketers exploit these needs, we can learn to counteract them and pay less.
For middle-class families, one key challenge to early retirement is finding affordable health insurance. Luckily, there is a solution on the horizon which would provide affordable health insurance and consumer protections to many early retirees: The Affordable Care Act.
Sometimes you need to spend money to save money. By buying these products, you can save money over the long run because they save more than they cost. So go ahead and splurge!
In the HubPages community, HubScores represent the quality of individual hubs. Are HubScores also good predictors of the earnings you can expect to receive from your hubs? An easy-to-use statistical tool indicates that my HubScores have only a very weak correlation with my earnings. Thus, while...
What is Upromise? Upromise is a program run by Sallie Mae that gives its members cash back for everyday purchases. While joining is free and its always great to get money back, you need to watch your rewards to make sure you get what you've been promised.
Will your Starbucks addiction kill your budget? Or, can you savor your caffeine fix while saving money? You can enjoy the Starbucks experience by saving money in 10 ways.
Buying certificates of deposit ("CDs") with the highest rates is easy. Yet the average person buys CDs with lower interest rates. Here's how to buy CDs with the highest rates.
The Great Recession has devastated the retirement dreams of the average American. Indeed, the median net worth of all American households fell by 38.8% between 2007 and 2010. Are you on track for retirement? Or has the Great Recession derailed your plans?
Pundits have predicted the death of newspapers as readers switch to online content. They are wrong. Newspapers will thrive because they provide far more value than they cost.
Cable TV bills keep increasing faster than inflation, and may reach $200 per month by 2020! Luckily, you can ditch your cable TV provider and watch TV for free. You can also enjoy the DVR experience without paying exorbitant DVR rental and service fees to your cable TV provider.
How much to pay for their children's college is a dilemma for parents. While many parents will do almost anything for their children, the best solutions to this problem are ones which facilitate the child's own reasonable decision about what college to attend.
It takes years to build a retirement nest egg. Unfortunately, your nest egg can be destroyed in weeks, days or even seconds. Take proactive steps to make sure this doesn't happen to you.
The average family saves less than 5% of its net income. You will need to save more than average if you want to achieve your financial goals. Take this quiz to see how your spending compares to the national average.
With anemic stock market returns for more than a decade, you need to squeeze out as much growth as possible from your investment portfolio by minimizing taxes, costs and risks. Here's how to use new investment products to build a simple, tax efficient, low cost and well diversified investment...
To become financially independent or retire early, control your biggest life purchases including your houses, automobiles, vacations and insurance. Also consider the financial implications of having children and selecting colleges.
Virtually anyone can retire early by following only one simple rule: "Live well below your means".
Taking a part-time job is a great way to supplement your income. There are numerous financial benefits to part-time work beyond the paycheck.
While some TracFone users pay over 33 cents per minute, you can pay less than 6 cents per minute. That’s a savings of 82%! Here’s how to see through TracFone’s marketing confusion to get this great deal.
You can save lots of money by buying drugs, medical supplies and personal care products at national drugstore chains. They can even be free if you use the drugstores' incentive coupons. CVS handily beats Walgreens in this battle of pharmacy giants.
Its easier than ever to find comprehensive information about other places. Here are 10 helpful resources to find your dream retirement destination. You can even make virtual visits.
You can save the most money on hotels using Priceline, Hotwire or another opaque online site. Here's what to look out for to make sure you enjoy your stay.
The cheapest way to buy an airline ticket is to use an opaque shopping site such as Priceline or Hotwire. Here are tips for making your purchase without regret.
Early retirees should build a 3-legged income stool. This stool should contain at least 3 of these legs: immediate annuities; income replacement funds; deferred compensation; dividend and interest income; and part-time work.
More merchants are using relationship marketing to retain their customers and encourage them to spend more. Are you in any one-way relationships where you love your merchant more than they love you?
Credit cards are a powerful financial tool. Here are 20 reasons why its better to use credit cards than debit cards.
Walking is a great way to beat high gas prices. By substituting walking for driving for just a few trips each week, many people can save enough to pay for the recent increases in gas prices.
Using automatic rebalancing is a simple way to improve investment returns without increasing risk. Automatic rebalancing is especially useful for retirement plans such as IRAs and 401Ks as there are no tax consequences associated with periodically buying or selling your assets.
You may be entitled to thousands of dollars from old retirement plans with former employers. You only need to follow a few simple steps to claim this money.
It is critical to understand your overall investments and financial situation before making financial decisions. By using a simple spreadsheet to capture all of your financial assets, you can make better investment decisions and reach your financial goals faster.
Despite dire headlines about high unemployment, the burst housing bubble, the debt crisis in Europe and gridlock in Washington, there are a number of reasons why this is a great time to retire. Here are 10.
Taxpayers should take advantage of the 0% long-term capital gains tax rate. Retirees and especially early retirees are in particularly good position to benefit from this special tax break due to their reduced incomes.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has proposed eliminating investment income taxes for low and middle class Americans. He has also proposed increasing eligibility ages for Social Security and Medicare. For early retirees, the long term cost of increasing the benefit eligibility ages...
Investing in income replacement funds can be a useful strategy to help early retirees bridge the gap between their early retirement date and their normal retirement date. This strategy also maintains flexibility to deal with unexpected financial emergencies, and helps protect against market,...
The commonly accepted rule says a retiree needs to replace a certain percentage of his pre-retirement income to retire comfortably. This rule is likely to lead savers to delay retirement beyond the point where they could generate enough income to retire comfortably. A better rule would focus on...